Three Burrowing Owls
Babies at the Sacramento ZooJul 9, 2013
Along with the popular Sumatran Tiger cub, the Sacramento Zoo is excited to announce the births of 37 animals over the past few months. Births during this past spring include a Wolf’s Guenon, Sumatran Tiger, Mongoose Lemur, four Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, two Red River Hogs, ducks, frogs, a Red Panda and seven Burrowing Owl chicks.
Many of the animals at the Sacramento Zoo are part of Species Survival Plans® (SSPs), coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity, and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.
Zuri, the Wolf's Guenon
Early morning on January 26, the Sacramento Zoo’s female Wolf’s Guenon gave birth to her first infant, a female named Zuri. Currently there are fewer than 35 of these vulnerable African monkeys housed at 11 zoos in the United States that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Wolf’s Guenons are native to central Africa where they inhabit forests and forage for fruits, seeds, and an occasional insect. Forming loose family groups in the wild, these monkeys are even known to spend time with other primate species including Bonobos, Colobus Monkeys and other guenons. A larger mixed-species group may mean that there are more eyes on the lookout for predators, and many guenons have learned to recognize other monkeys’ alarm calls so that they know how to respond correctly if a neighbor spots a leopard or eagle.
CJ, the Sumatran Tiger
CJ, the male Sumatran Tiger cub, was born March 3. At three months old, he made his public debut and began exploring his exhibit under mom’s guidance. The new sights and smells have entertained this energetic young male between lengthy catnaps. Tigers are solitary creatures and the father does not assist in the raising of cubs. For this reason, CJ and mom will explore the outdoor habitat during the day while the male lounges outside in the evening and overnight. Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered and found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra off the Malaysian Peninsula. Fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers are believed to exist in the wild and approximately 200 live in zoos around the world.
Black & White Ruffed Lemur Babies
Four critically endangered Black and White Ruffed lemurs were born on May 17 and have been growing fast in an off-exhibit area with mom. Ruffed lemurs are the only primate that keeps their young in nests instead of carrying them around. In the wild they would use tree cavities and crooks to nest in, but at the Zoo keepers provide other nesting options like tubs and crates.
At a few weeks of age the infants start practicing their climbing skills. They are currently in an off-exhibit area, but you may see them through a mesh door between the lemurs’ building and the exhibit. This door allows the father and older brother to get to know the youngsters through the mesh and will help with the introduction process when they are reintroduced to their extended family.
Burrowing Owl Chicks Hatch
Seven vulnerable Burrowing Owl chicks hatched over Mother's Days weekend at the Sacramento Zoo. Four are inside the exhibit burrow and will start making appearances outside the nest over the next couple of months. The other three chicks are being hand-raised to become outreach animals, acting as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.
Burrowing Owls were the stars of the book Hoot by Carl Hiaasen that was later made into a movie. They are native to North and South America and can be seen in grassy fields right here in the Sacramento Valley. Burrowing Owls are a very important grassland predator, keeping rodent populations in check.
Baby Mongoose Lemur
The Zoo’s pair of endangered Mongoose Lemurs (found across from the Tall Wonders giraffe deck) had their second baby on May 11. Their first youngster is also in the enclosure, learning important parenting skills from her mother.
The mom carries her infant like a fanny pack so you may see the baby around her waist. The sex of the baby will be known in a few months; its throat will stay white if it's a female but change to rust-brown if male. This species of lemur is monogamous and the typical group includes an adult pair and their offspring, usually one per year. Adults weigh just over 3 lbs.
Like other lemur species they are found on the island of Madagascar. Approximately 200 years ago they were also introduced to the Comoro Islands by man. Mongoose Lemurs are endangered due to hunting and forest fragmentation.
Red River Hogs
Early June 23, the Sacramento Zoo’s adult pair of Red River Hogs welcomed two female hoglets weighing in at 1.24 and 1.14 kilograms. The Red River Hog family will be off-exhibit for a couple weeks, after which the youngsters will be ready to navigate their exhibit and meet their Bongo roommates.
When full grown, the hogs will weigh between 120 and 264 pounds and reach three to five feet in length. Until about three months of age, piglets are brown with yellowish stripes. This coloring serves as effective camouflage in the wild. Red River Hogs are best known for their long curly ears and reddish-brown fur. Native to the dense tropical jungles of Central to West Africa, Red River Hog populations are in serious decline due to hunting for food and sport.
Red Panda Cub
June 9, a pair of endangered Red Pandas welcomed a male cub, their first offspring. After 2.5 weeks, discussions between veterinary and animal care staff and the Red Panda SSP Coordinator led to a decision to hand rear the cub due to a lack of weight gain and inconsistencies in care from the cub’s mother. Since beginning to hand rear the cub he has shown signs of improvement and has steadily gained weight.
Red Panda cubs have a high mortality rate of 50% within the first 30 days of life. While the first-time mother was attentive, she may not have been producing enough milk to feed her cub. Animal Care staff are hopeful that the cub will thrive with additional attention from keepers and veterinary staff.
Sacramento Zoo – Wildly Inspiring!
Open since 1927, the Sacramento Zoo is home to more than 500 native, rare and endangered animals and is one of over 200 accredited institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Located near the corner of Land Park Drive and Sutterville Road in William Land Park, the Zoo is wholly managed by the non-profit Sacramento Zoological Society. This Sacramento treasure inspires conservation awareness through education and recreation. Open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, general admission is $11.25; children ages 2-11 are $7.25 and one and under are admitted free. Parking is free throughout the park or ride Regional Transit bus #6. For information, call 916-808-5888 or visit saczoo.org.
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